IN VARANASI, the Smallpox Devi Shitala still lives. Although she has been wiped out by science, her little sisters like chickenpox still survive. And presumably cow pox too. We believe Smallpox is dead – the UN declared it to be dead years ago. Let’s hope no samples still exist in warfare labs worldwide, eh?
And a kind word to Louis Pasteur, who figured out the connections and eradicated this Smallpox scourge to people. These horrid little Herpes families of virii live in the spine, and sometimes erupt as “shingles”, cold sores, and worse. Kids with chicken pox want to scratch the pustules, and that leaves scars. If the kids manage not to scratch the scars, the horrid Herpes virus might erupt 40 years later and scar them. It is a horrid little virus and there’s no accounting for the damage it might and does do.
Eradicating Devi Shitala is practically impossible, we’d guess. You just have to wear her down. Or bow to her. In Benares, of course. ζ
Mike, I think variola and varicella are different families
of pox, tho it comes to the same end.
Well, Mr Mac Máigheóc, it doesn’t really matter these days whether there are samples of smallpox sitting under armed guard in some discreet redbrick labs. It’s been sequenced, so we could build a new one easily enough.
Not that it’s all bad. You can also build bugs that squonk out biofuels that are a lot better than ethanol (at least to give cars to drink), by shuffling together bits and pieces like so much Lego. Me, I’m working on a variant of the common cold virus that produces 16 year old Lagavulin. Beats Lemsip, and adds a certain truth to the saying “Bless you!”